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May 31, 2021

In this Onward Podcast episode, Deborah Edwards shares how she navigated life and a loved one’s addiction. Furthermore, Deborah’s book High: A Story of Addiction, Awareness and Ascension, explores her journey involving the harrowing navigation of her teenaged son’s heroin addiction--an addiction that arrived on the heels of death, divorce, bankruptcy, and an overall questioning of her purpose.

Also, Emily shares her similar journey in this eye-opening and thought-provoking interview. Ultimately, Deborah learned that loving another through their addiction is based in the practice of presence, holding boundaries with belief, and patient love.  

An award-winning corporate development expert, Deborah has experience as an entrepreneur, business owner, Sales AVP, Division Manager for an MGA, and more. Now, as a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Points of You Certified Expert and award-winning speaker, Deborah helps her clients harness their strengths, celebrate their uniqueness, and develop their innate leadership abilities to improve professional success and promote personal growth.

Episode Highlights:

  • First, Emily introduces Deborah.
  • Then Emily shares that she and Deborah have been through similar, difficult circumstances with their sons.
  • Next, Deborah talks about the importance of addressing mental health issues.
  • People will use substances to subdue their feelings and emotions.
  • Deborah talks about her book High: A Story of Addiction, Awareness and Ascension.
  • She takes the reader through the experience of realizing her son was addicted to heroin and navigating the process.
  • Her son, Andrew is 5.5 years in sobriety.
  • Also, she wrote the book to give hope to the person in the thick of it and to encourage others to see that it's OK to continue to live your life while your loved one is on their own journey.
  • There are different ends to this all too familiar experience and Emily and Deborah are fortunate that their son's are alive.
  • Next, Deborah describes Andrew's family life.
  • It’s a difficult balance - loving the child, setting boundaries, etc.
  • It's difficult to detect substance abuse in teens.
  • Deborah describes all of the challenging event that occurred in the span of one year and how she handled the situation.
  • Who supported Deborah throughout this challenging time in her life?
  • Deborah started to focus on her own personal growth, believing that her son would recover even though she couldn't do it for him.
  • Hot yoga, climbing mountains and her strong faith saved Deborah. 
  • It's not selfish to pursue your dreams and bring happiness and joy into your life even if your addict child is not there yet.
  • Your life is a reflection of you.
  • Next Emily asks Deborah her thoughts on how employers can address this issue of substance abuse.
  • It’s important for employers to create an environment where it's safe to talk about mental illness and substance abuse.
  • We need to withhold judgment. And judgment lives in the judger.
  • How did Andrew become sober and what did it take for him to decide to get help?
  • Andrew kept making the next right decision.
  • Next, Deborah talks about the times Andrew relapsed.
  • Emily talks about the importance of parents finding support and how challenging having an addict child is on a marriage.
  • Deborah talks about what Andrew is up to now that he's sober and owns his own business.
  • When Andrew was 9 he told his mom he had a fear that he'd give into temptation.
  • Emily and Deborah talk about there is a piece of them that's aware relapses are possible.
  • Then, Deborah talks about the importance of taking care of yourself, going after your dreams and helping others, when a loved one suffers from addiction.
  • Let them know you have confidence in them and their ability to recover.
  • How does Deborah recommend friends and family support parents with children suffering from addiction.
  • Emily talks about how she pushed forward and didn't feel her feelings and start to do some inner work until 2 years ago.
  • Deborah's sister passed away at age 19. Deborah was 17 at the time and she talks about how that impacted her.
  • Finally, you aren’t alone. 

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